“What do you mean you don’t like pancakes?!” This is the usual response when I declare that I’m just not a big fan of American-style, thick, fluffy pancakes, not the thin kind common here and in France. I don’t want to eat a stack of heavy carbohydrates so early in the morning, wasting valuable space in my stomach which could be filled with bacon or sausages or fried eggs instead. That said, my pancake-loving brother was down this Easter weekend and I spoil him terribly. Easter Sunday’s brunch was buttermilk pancakes with streaky bacon and there was lots of butter and maple syrup on the side.

More Maple Syrup

Oh yes, that combination of sweet and savoury is a popular one in our household – no bacon and the pancakes just become too cloying. I turned to the net and found that Alton Brown’s recipe for buttermilk pancakes is well respected, supposedly turning out very fluffy and flavourful. And so they did – they are possibly the best American pancakes I’ve had! The batter is very easy to put together and doesn’t require a long rest so gather the eaters around the table, ready to eat the pancakes hot off the pan. That said, if you want all your pancakes ready before bringing them to the diners, they keep very well in a warm oven.

And you know, it turns out I don’t mind a pancake now and then, especially when made into a teddy bear or Easter bunny shape! I certainly cannot deal with a proper stack of them, as my brother can, but one or two is just about right. Lots of space left for bacon!

Bunny and Bacon

Teddy Bear Pancake

I had bought only one little tub of buttermilk which only held one cup’s worth from my local supermarket and so added a cupful of regular milk to replace the other half missing. They still turned out fine though I bet the flavour would be even finer with all buttermilk. If you want them a bit jazzed up, scatter chocolate chips or fresh blueberries over the batter in the pan before flipping. To make the animal shapes, work fast and with a tablespoon!

Buttermilk Pancakes
adapted from an Alton Brown recipe.
serves 4-6.

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsps caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk (or half buttermilk, half regular milk)
4 tbsps cooled and melted unsalted butter
extra butter for the pan

Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together. Beat the eggs well and pour them on top of the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk (or buttermilk and milk) and the melted butter. Whisk together just until it comes together – lumps are alright! You don’t want to overmix this.

Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Before making each pancake, make sure to butter the pan. Pour in enough batter to reach a desired size. Cook the first side until bubbles form in the top of the pancakes – this should take about 2-3 minutes. The bottoms will be golden brown. Flip and continue cooking for about another minute. Remove and keep warm until serving. Repeat until all the batter is finished.